Legion

Please note that this review may contain spoilers for earlier instalments of this series. You can read my reviews of these novels [here], [here] and [here].

Legion was written by Julie Kagawa and first published in 2017. It is the fourth instalment of The Talon Saga, raising the stakes as Talon finally reveals their terrible plan for world domination. As this novel follows on directly where Talon (2014), Rogue (2015) and Soldier (2016) left off, I’d recommend reading the novels in sequence if you want to have any idea of what’s going on.

The Patriarch has been defeated and the Order has fallen into disarray, but it came at a terrible cost. Garret won the duel but still fell to his treacherous commander’s blade. As he bled to death in the middle of nowhere, his salvation came from an unexpected person. Riley offers his blood for transfusion, saving Garret’s life. However, the implications for him doing this are unknown. Garret is a human and Riley is a dragon. There is no way of knowing if he will survive, or what will become of him if he does.

However, Ember and the Rogues do not have time to find out. When a small town is wiped out in a sudden accident, they know that Talon must have something to do with it. What they discover chills them to the core. Talon have completed their army of Vessels – soulless clones bred purely for war – and Dante will be the one to dispatch them to destroy the last vestiges of the Order.

Ember knows that they must stop them, even if it means forging an alliance with their enemy. However, the Vessels aren’t the only threat. When she is taken captive by Dante, she meets the Elder Wyrm for the first time and learns of her true plan. Ember has a vital role to play in the Elder Wyrm’s schemes – one that will mean a fate worse than death for her…

Sorry for the delay in getting this review up – I’m full of cold at the moment! Anyway, if you’ve read my other reviews of this series, you’ll be aware that my feelings towards it have been mixed at best. While Legion is by no means a perfect novel, I am pleased to say that it is at least a step in the right direction. While I don’t think I enjoyed it quite as much as Talon, it does address many of the issues that I had with Rogue and Soldier.

While the other instalments were quite slow burning, Legion picks up exactly where Solider left off, with Garret bleeding to death in the middle of the desert. It maintains a brisk and focused pace throughout as the stakes this time could not be higher. While Talon’s grand plan has been hinted at since Rogue, the time has finally come to set it in motion.

While we’ve seen the destructive power of the Order before, this is the first time that Talon have felt like a true threat. The Vessels are both destructive and surprisingly scary. In the earlier instalments, Ember and her friends just seemed to be supernaturally lucky. Despite the fact that they were a handful of immature dragons fighting two superpowers, you never really got a sense that they were in any danger. In this book, everything changes. For the first time, it truly feels as though the Rogues are in over their heads, and I was left unsure of how they could possibly win out over something as unstoppable as Talon.

Yet there are still a few elements of this story that don’t quite work from me. This is possibly a personal gripe, but I didn’t especially like how short the chapters were. The story is split between four first person narrators – Ember, Garret, Riley and Dante – and sometimes the focus only stays with them for a single page before flitting to someone else. I had a couple of problems with this. Firstly, it was often hard to tell who was speaking. Other than Riley (who never seems to call any character by their true name), the rest of the protagonists just sounded too similar and thus I kept forgetting who was supposed to be telling the story.

Secondly, there is an awful lot of repetition in this novel. As the focus moved to different characters who were often in the same room, events were replayed over and over as the narrator waded in to give there two pence about what was going on. This was just tedious to read. Legion was not an especially long novel, but could have still been cut down by a surprising amount if all instances of repetition were removed. You don’t need every character to remind you that Ember has lost her viper suit. Once is more than enough.

It was also disappointing to see that the primary cast are all still invincible. Just take Garret for example. Kagawa’s decision to kill him was a bold move at the end of Soldier, especially as he was set to be Ember’s primary love interest. However, it’s not really a spoiler to tell you that it doesn’t last as Garret is saved within the first eighteen pages of Legion. But it’s not just Garret. Riley states over and over that the Vessels are a massive threat and that not all of the Rogues will survive their battle against them. While it’s true that a couple of the dragons do die in this story, the only named character to meet their end in the climax was one that has not appeared on page since the first book. It felt massively unrealistic that all of the principle cast just walk away from the brutal final battle with nothing more than flesh wounds.

However, for its faults, Legion does manage to repair the damage that Rogue and Soldier did to Ember’s character. Garret’s survival finally puts an end to the awful Garret/Ember/Riley love triangle and I couldn’t be happier about that. Although I’m of two minds about the plot twist concerning Ember’s importance to the Elder Wyrm (no spoilers here), I’m glad that her fire and independence have finally returned. While she does still make some rather stupid mistakes, it was great to see her standing her ground and no longer bowing to Riley’s every whim. The climax of this novel sees Ember starting to carve her own path at long last, and I’m very curious to see where it will take her.

I should also note that Legion addressed my biggest nit-pick – Ember’s insistence that her dragon and human halves are separate. While I’ve waxed lyrical about the fact that Ember shouldn’t even have a human side before, in this book she decides that both halves are one and the same so she should stop feeling conflicted between them. It’s not a perfect solution, but at least it hopefully spells an end to Ember talking about herself in third person!

It was also nice that Dante finally got some development in this novel. The flashbacks to his childhood did a great job of explaining how he came to be in his present situation and I enjoyed witnessing his gradual slide into darkness. I get the impression that things are not going to end well for him and I’m morbidly curious to find out what will become of him in the final instalment.

Anyhow, Legion wasn’t perfect but it is at least a step in the right direction. On the whole, I did enjoy reading this novel and it left me very curious to find out what Kagawa will have in store for Ember and her friends. There is apparently one more book to go in this series, and I can’t want to review the final instalment when it’s released next year.

Legion can be purchased as a Paperback, eBook and Audio Book on Amazon.co.uk

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© Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews, 2016. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Kim Dyer and Arkham Reviews with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

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